Rolling Stone Germany recently conducted an interview with GHOST mastermind Tobias Forge. You can watch the four-part chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On opening up for METALLICA in Europe this past summer:
Tobias: "Entertaining. It's summer and, for the most part, the weather is nice and it's a very relaxed tour. The pacing of the tour is quite different from what we usually do. We usually tour six weeks straight with five, six shows every week and two-hour shows, which means that it's a lot of work. You need a lot of time to sort of in between shows… I usually stay very still, whereas on this tour, we play one hour every second, or every third night, so you have a lot of time just to spend in cities. I go home as well."
On whether it is now strange for him to do interviews unmasked:
Tobias: "The hardest bit is not to sit like this. Not the hardest, but the most odd thing is occasionally seeing it. When you see the media itself someplace. I am getting used to doing it like this, but over the years, all the interviews, most of the interviews I have done for magazines, even though the media itself was not filmed, has been like this. I am used to talking. [Laughs] But not talking in front of a journalist. Just the fact the camera is here [is odd]."
On separating his real personality from his stage persona:
Tobias: "The upside of my setup is that I don't have to make an effort more than physically to be able to take my mask off and no longer be the guy on stage. Where many artists don't have that possibility because they're onstage persona and their offstage persona closely resembles each other, especially the appearances. Whoever they feel like when they've stepped offstage doesn't correlate with what people see, which I don't have that problem. Because as soon as I am not onstage and I'm not in that attire and wearing that guise, no one really expects me to really be like that, which colors my way of being as well. Whereas if you are expected to be that person, a lot of people have problems because you step into a forum because everybody expects you to be a certain way, you might actually trigger and you want to become a 'supernatural' onstage being even in real life, and that can become a problem. I definitely felt as a kid that you needed to transform, you needed to metamorphically…you needed to morph into this supernatural being that couldn't originate from the street where I grew up."
On GHOST's first-ever photo shoot, which consisted of Forge and several of his friends wearing the band's disguises:
Tobias: "We were struggling back then. It was kind of like you invited people to this party and you didn't have a venue to have the party in. [Laughs] You hadn't bought the alcohol. You hadn't a stereo system. It was very stressful because everything was sort of built in the wrong order. Traditionally when you form a band, you sort of meet up and then you rehearse, then you sort of… The people that shouldn't be there, you take them out, then you find the good bass player, then after a while, you have a band, then you start playing live. Whereas this was just almost the other way around. Knowing now how the music business works and how the entertainment business works nowadays, I think that maybe it wasn't as unorthodox as it would appear because nowadays you have to compel people and you have to grab their attention and you have to keep it, then you have to nurture that in a way that is way more frantic than it ever was back in the day. So, I think that more than often, and I think that's very common nowadays. Back just 20 years ago, most bands wrote a record [while] rehearsing. Nowadays, what bands do, what most artists do, you record it first, then you [learn to play them live]. It's a very common modus operandi nowadays. But, yeah, it's been a lot of different twists and turns because the project even early on was very popular. We had a lot of attention and that forced me and everybody involved to be on our toes."
On whether he's started work on the follow-up to 2018's "Prequelle":
Tobias: "Right now, it's touring up until the end of the year, up until Christmas. Right now, I'm in the beginning phases of putting songs together and writing. I write a lot all the time. [Writing on tour] is more of the matter of having the discipline. You get the idea for a song; I can get that anywhere. I've arranged and figured out a lot of songs in the shower. At least how I work is that over the course of a year or two, I just have a lot of ideas put into this big basket of ideas, basically. That is phrases, riffs, ideas, like this little beat, things like that. All of them are placed in this basket as a little seed that as soon as you pour water on it, it can sort of erupt into this song, but then, after a year, I need to go into the studio and I need to pour water on it and see what happens. That is hard to do on tour, but I was just in the studio a couple of days ago and wrote a song for the next album, so it happens. Right about now is the time when I start doing that."
On whether he knows the musical direction of the next GHOST album:
Tobias: "I pretty much have the concept of the record done and tons of titles, tons of ideas and also a lot of things that I want to perfect that I think we haven't done before. So, yeah, I feel very inspired that come January, I'm going to into the studio."
GHOST's recent North American tour wrapped October 26 in Glens Falls, New York.
The band's live set included two new songs, "Kiss The Go-Goat" and "Mary On A Cross", which are both featured on a new limited-edition seven-inch single, released last month.